Showing posts from 2012

Racial differences in narcissistic tendencies

Journal of Research in Personality 45 (2011) 456–467 Virgil Zeigler-Hill ⇑,1, Marion T. Wallace
Department of Psychology, University of Southern Mississippi,  Black individuals reported much higher scores on the Grandiose Exhibitionism
subscale of the NPI than White individuals but there was no difference
between the scores of Black and White individuals for the Entitlement
Rage subscale of the PNI. Although Black individuals did
not report elevated levels of pathological narcissism, the connection
between maladjustment and pathological narcissism was
particularly strong for Black individuals. This suggests the possibility
that pathological forms of narcissism may serve as a marker of
vulnerability to psychological distress for Black individuals. This
could be due to the manner in which Black individuals with narcissistic
tendencies are treated by broader society. That is, narcissism
may be less tolerated in social…

Humanity is unfit for the future unless we consider genetic engineering

Genetically enhance humanity or face extinction - PART 1 from Ethics of the New Biosciences on Vimeo.

Genetically enhance humanity or face extinction - PART 2 from Ethics of the New Biosciences on Vimeo.
Julian Savulescu presents at Sydney's Festival of Dangerous Ideas In his talk at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas (Sydney Opera House), philosopher and bioethicist Julian Savulescu examines the nature of human beings as products of evolution, in particular their limited altruism, limited co-operative instincts and limited ability to take account of the future consequences of actions. He argues that humans' biology and psychology are unfit for the kind of society we live in and we must either alter our political institutions, severely restrain our technology or change our nature. Or face annihilation by our own design.

Improving the genetics of offspring

Intervening in the making of babies will be the most important issue facing the next generation.  We will have the capacity to change behavior that undermines social and personal wellbeing.  A later Q & A version of Prof Savulescu's persuasive argument for genetic modification.
Wall Street Journal June 1, 2012:

Bionic Brains and Beyond High-tech implants will soon be commonplace enhancements under our skin and inside our skulls, making us stronger and smarter.Daniel H. Wilsonon our 'superabled' future.
...Over the next decade, new implantable technologies will fundamentally alter the social landscape. We are fast approaching a milestone in the eons-long relationship between human beings and their technology. Families once gathered around the radio like it was a warm fireplace. Then boom boxes leapt onto our shoulders. The Sony Walkman climbed into our pockets and sank its black foam tentacles into our ears. The newest tools are creeping still closer: They will soon come inside and make themselves at home under our skin—some already have.

Sex Differences Driven by Impulse

Men are harder on the gas, women better on the brakes. Published on May 22, 2012 by Christopher Badcock, Ph.D. in The Imprinted Brain

Like it or not, there are universal differences in psychology and behavior between men and women. A recent meta-analysis by researchers at Durham University in the UK points out that men are more physically and verbally aggressive than women across data sources and nations. Men account for 76 percent of all criminal arrests in the United States, and commit 89 percent of homicides and 82 percent of all violent crime. Worldwide, men use drugs (alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, and cocaine) more than women and participate more often in extreme sports, such as sky-diving and mountain-climbing. Men are also more likely than women to suffer from a range of psychopathologies characterized by externalizing and impulsive behaviors such as antisocial personality disorder, cond…

Who Gets to be French


By KARL E. MEYER Published: April 11, 201

THE French language is justly renowned for its clarity and precision. Yet on a seemingly simple matter its speakers stumble into a fog — who or what can be defined as French? The question arose afresh in the wake of the Toulouse killings. No one doubted that the perpetrator was 23-year-old Mohammed Merah, a native son of Algerian descent. But was Mr. Merah French?Enlarge This Image Federico Jord√°nImpossible, declared four members of Parliament belonging to President Nicolas Sarkozy’s center-right party. In a joint statement, they insisted that Mr. Merah “had nothing French about him but his identity papers.”

Nonsense, retorted the left-wing journal Lib√©ration: “Merah is certainly a monster, but he was a French monster.” A childhood friend of Mr. Merah provided a poignant elaboration: “Our passports may say that we are French, but we don’t feel French because we were never accepted here. No one can excuse what he did, …

My comment on Britney Griner in a response to a piece in Psychology Today

Once we sweep aside all the sentimentality and extraneous issues,resentments, and name calling, we are still left with the issue of athletes having an unfair advantage, whether it comes from Mother Nature's laboratory or the BALCO laboratory. The whole world (witness the Tour de France) and especially America (Barry Bonds, etc.) want a level playing field even if it includes climbs in the alps. Fair advantages translate to talent and physical characteristics that stay within a certain domain. Height alone in basketball would be considered a fair advantage.

The Britney Griner case very much parallels that of Caster Semanya. When at the '09 world championships, the 18-year-old South African looked over her shoulder on the home stretch and pulled clear of the field with such placid ease that it made Usain Bolt seem tense in comparison, there were bound to be questions, just as there are with Mr. Griner. In the sport of track and field, one does not go from 2:04.23 to 1:55.45, win…

The Higher the Testosterone, the Harder to Cooperate

ScienceDaily (Jan. 31, 2012) — Testosterone makes us overvalue our own opinions at the expense of cooperation, research from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL (University College London) has found. The findings may have implications for how group decisions are affected by dominant individuals.
Problem solving in groups can provide benefits over individual decisions as we are able to share our information and expertise. However, there is a tension between cooperation and self-orientated behaviour: although groups might benefit from a collective intelligence, collaborating too closely can lead to an uncritical groupthink, ending in decisions that are bad for all.
Attempts to understand the biological mechanisms behind group decision making have tended to focus on the factors that promote cooperation, and research has shown that people given a boost of the hormone oxytocin tend to be cooperative. Now, in a study …

Low Choloesterol and Violent Crime

Low cholesterol and violent crime.Golomb BAStattin HMednick S. SourceDepartment of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 92093-0995, USA. AbstractBACKGROUND:Community cohort studies and meta-analyses of randomized trials have shown a relation between low or lowered cholesterol and death by violence (homicide, suicide, accident); in primates, cholesterol reduction has been linked to increased behavioral acts of aggression (Kaplan J, Manuck S. The effects of fat and cholesterol on aggressive behaviour in monkeys. Psychosom. Med 1990;52:226-7; Kaplan J, Shively C, Fontenot D, Morgan T, Howell S, Manuck S et al. Demonstration of an association among dietary cholesterol, central serotonergic activity, and social behaviour in monkeys. Psychosom. Med 1994;56:479-84.). In this study we test for the first time whether cholesterol level is related to commission of violent crimes against others in a large community cohort. METHODS:We merged one-time cholesterol me…

David Brooks Speaks with Daniel Kahneman